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Maryland Passes Freedom To Read Act

By Charlotte Robinson, April 26, 2024

Maryland Governor Wes Moore has signed HB785 the “Freedom to Read Act” & HB1386 that mandates anti-bias training for all school employees into state law. This legislation will support academic success & overall well-being for our LGBTQ youth. Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN Executive Director stated, “With Governor Moore's signature on HB785, the 'Freedom to Read Act,' & HB1386, instituting vital anti-bias training for school employees, Maryland takes a bold step forward in safeguarding the rights & dignity of LGBTQ+ youth & educators. Schools should be working to build inclusive environments that reflect the diversity of their student body & community. It is especially critical that state leaders like Governor Moore rise up for policies that foster inclusive learning when resources & supports for LGBTQI+ youth continue to be targeted by extremists across the country. GLSEN applauds this pivotal moment & urges continued dedication from state leaders to ensure every student feels valued, affirmed & safe in their learning environment." Last year there were 148 books challenged in both public schools & libraries across Maryland making the state one of 17 in the nation to surpass 100 disputed titles. In 2023 GLSEN stood with numerous LGBTQ orgs that filed an amicus brief in a Fourth Circuit case that considers whether Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) can prohibit parents from seeking an exemption from the English Language Arts curriculum when classes include books that feature LGBTQ characters. Through Gov. Moore’s signing of HB785 Maryland now joins a growing number of states that have enacted laws prohibiting book banning & strengthening culturally competent professional development trainings for educators. 

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